CFIB statement on federal COVID-19 aid measures for workers and businesses

Toronto, March 18, 2020 – CFIB appreciates the federal government’s quick work to respond to the health emergency created by COVID-19. We also recognize their work in announcing a second package of measures to help address the related economic emergency facing Canadian employers and workers.

The measures to expand access to Employment Insurance for those who are sick, in quarantine or laid off will be of help and CFIB commends the government for providing special access to the self-employed, including business owners.
But the focus of business and worker support measures should be to avoid layoffs from companies that are dealing with a deep and immediate drop in sales as a result of the economic effects of self-isolation. As of last weekend, 50 per cent of small firms reported they’ve already experienced a drop in sales. The number is likely to be much higher today.  One in four businesses reports they will not be able to survive a significant drop in income for more than one month.

CFIB is pleased the federal government has announced a wage subsidy for small businesses of 10 per cent of wages over the next 90 days, up to $1,375 per employee or $25,000 per employer. Unfortunately, while the measure is a good one, the level of the subsidy needs to be far higher in order to help – closer to the 75-90 per cent levels announced in many European countries.

CFIB will be immediately advocating for additional wage support for workers in Canadian small businesses. Measures to keep Canadians working and connected to their employer will be what helps the economy recover from the COVID-19 emergency as quickly as possible.

- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at